REVIEW: Nothing To Remember

Nothing To Remember doesn’t seem to be a memorable game to me. It tries to be something bigger than it should be, giving a sense of weirdness due to their strange decisions in the attempt at realism.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Visual Novel
Developer: Guts United
Publisher: Guts United
Release date: 29 Jul, 2021

Intro

Nothing To Remember is a visual novel game told through a chat app about murder investigations. The game will switch between two people that are related to the investigation.

Visuals

Nothing To Remember plays out in a monochrome chat app. Yes, a single chat app that runs in a windowed size is all you’ll get in the game. The interface reminds me of the LINE app, although I admit that I hardly install any chat apps on the desktop to make a good comparison of what the game truly mimics.

Story

The story is told through a series of chats that are happening between the user that is currently logged in. The game will switch between two users, giving you an option to see what is happening from two different points of view. However, I found that the first person, Jeremy Night, to be lacking in depth and feel unnecessary to be introduced in the game. His presence might be important in understanding some parts of the story, but it would be better if they are made as bonus content that will be unlocked after you finished the game.

Most of the story revolves around Sarah Carter, a police officer that is working on two cases at the same time. However, I felt like I’m missing something whenever I’m following through her conversation because a lot of things are happening off-screen. You only get in control of the chat app, so everything that is not happening in there, even phone calls, is only explained either through a follow-up chat with someone else that was with her at the time, or told by yourself through the “Notes” section of the chat app, which acts as a space to chat to yourself. I don’t feel like I’m playing as Sarah – I’m just a bystander that happens to see her chats.

Getting a chat without context like this out of nowhere sure is confusing.

It’s hard to remember names. The game does a good job by giving a link that describes someone whenever their names are brought up at first, but it soon is gone as you are reaching the end. Since the game is happening in a chat app, scrolling the chat up to refresh your memory might sound like a good idea to do, but alas, all previous chats’ orders are jumbled and I couldn’t make sense of what’s happening with the conversation anymore.

Your decision might affect the story. There are several choices that you can make as you play the game, and although most of them are just the same choices with different tones, some will be marked as critical choices, affecting the story. I’m not sure whether it will affect the ending or not, but the game will list all of your decision at the end.

Some of your critical decisions don’t seem to matter. This might contradict my previous point, but note that I only played through the game once, so I couldn’t check whether there are different endings in the game. Some of the critical decisions involve saving a victim from a possible murder, but they seem to be treated as dead even though you saved them. One person even got declared dead off-screen even though people were saying that they are alive.

The game will inform you if your decision will affect the story.

The Game

Gameplay

The core concept of this game is flawed. As I said before, the game takes place in a chat app, but the game clearly needs to go outside of it. The story plays out in realism, meaning that you have a life outside of your current objective. This also means handling your family, friends, or even your past. The game tries to help you experience these events, but all it could do is to give a GPS Tracker app to show the person’s location whenever they meet offline or give extra space to chat with yourself, whether it’s to take notes or show your past (yes, a past event is happening in chat). It feels weird and foreign to me.

The chat speed is very slow. The game gives an option to change the speed, but I still find the fastest one to be slow. The delay time between all chats is similar, meaning that you will have to wait longer than usual if the chat that appeared was very short, and this happens a lot. My brain went numb from all the waiting and I even had to leave the game for a while to wait for all chats to pop up to read them at once sometimes.

It’s hard to make sense of the time. The time that you sent your chats is marked based on your desktop’s time, but the game doesn’t run in the same timeframe as it. It’s so confusing whenever a new day arrives in the game, simply because there isn’t any information that is showing that fact. It would be better if the game scraps all the “realism” and put an imaginary date and time on the chats to make it easier to comprehend.

There is a “GPS Tracker” app whenever they are meeting offline. Also, you sure lost track of time easily since there is no timestamp aside from the last chat that you send.

Length and Replayability

I finished the game in 7.3h. You can replay the game if you want to choose different choices, especially regarding the murder case, but you have to reset your save and redo everything from the beginning to do it. To make it worse, you also need to wait for the chats to pop out since there is no feature to make it faster, even after you finished the game. It was so painful for me to wait for the chats in my first playthrough, and I’m not doing it again just to check whether the game is offering different endings. Besides, I could already guess what some of the decisions will lead to, so I’m content with that.

Problems

Despite having the same behavior as a chat app, the game won’t progress if you alt-tab the game or browse the chat of inactive conversations. Most videos that are shown in the game also feel like an image that is shown for a few seconds with a slight difference – it can be shown as an image and I won’t miss the point.

Specs

Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Verdict

As a game that promotes itself as an immersive murder mystery, I don’t feel immersed at all. Sure, I might feel curious about what’s happening sometimes, but the game feels empty overall. You have to deal with random things most of the time, and even when you are not, the important things are happening off-screen.

I don’t feel like I’m playing as Sarah or Jeremy – I felt like I’m just a bystander that happens to have an access to their chat app (not desktop), and give some influence to their decisions whenever the game asked me to. Sarah might be a police officer that can do some hacking, but you are not doing the hacking nor checking the contents on whatever you hacked yourself. In fact, it’s always another person who always does that and lets you know what she got.

The game tries hard to introduce realism, but it fails in doing so since they are only focusing on the chat app. They can expand the game’s scope outside of it or try to focus the story only on the chat app and people’s interactions, but they end up toughing it out and choose both. The end result feels like I’m living in a completely different world from these people, and what seems like realism ends up into something that is alien to me.

Written by
aquatorrent
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